When Conservatism Meets Creativity

By Ewa Sepiolo

“History was made tonight” - the most tweeted and instagrammed response to one of the breakthrough moments at this year's New York Fashion Week (NYFW). The Hijab has made its first debut on the runways and has been a highlight of New York Fashion Week 2017. Following the first groundbreaking Istanbul Modest Fashion Week where Muslim designers from all around the world showcased their designs, the Indonesian designer, Anniesa Hasibuan, was willing to take it a step further by featuring hijabs on the runway at this year’s NYFW, causing head turns.

In today's political and social climate of increased fear of Islamic terrorism and culture-clash, clothes of Islamic women are being scrutinized. However Anniesa was willing to take on the challenge by bringing the hijab into mainstream fashion by pairing western pieces of clothing such as pants, skirts, tunics and dresses with the Muslim headscarf. After only having started her brand a year ago, Anniesa’s debut on the runway is also the first time for an Indonesian Designer to feature a collection on NYFW. She is willing to take the risk and create a step forward in today's society to normalize the hijab in America and to help other Muslim women embrace their beliefs.

Every design, uniquely different than the last, was finished with neutral colored, satin or chiffon hijabs as well as elaborate necklaces and embellished neck pieces. Silhouettes included pleated ball skirts, kimono's over long dresses, peplum tops over sleek skirts, long overcoats and cropped jackets. There was an array of metallic and pastel hues and intricate lace, all embellished with plenty of traditional Indonesian jacquard fabric.

After 48 looks looks went down the runway, the audience, majority not Muslim, gave Hasibuan a standing ovation - “a rare sight at fashion week”. Clearly Anniesa is making cultural shifts in the world by breaking down stereotypes and demystifying misconceptions about Muslim women by helping them to be proud and to hold on to their beliefs, in style. She has definitely sparked the faith-driven modest alternatives and we are highly anticipating more similar styles to hit the runway shortly.

Source: HarpersBazaar.com HauteHijab.com, Elle.com, IndiaTimes.com